Building a better Europe with children: All aboard!

“We count on you; do you count on us?”

The Eurochild Conference in Opatija will bring positive examples of how public decision-makers at local, national and European levels are respecting the right of children to participate in decisions affecting them.

The conference will host an estimated 300 participants including public sector officials, politicians, children’s rights professionals as well as children themselves. By involving under 18 years-olds in the planning, preparation and delivery of the conference, the conference itself will be an example of participation in action.

The European Pillar of Social Rights, which was endorsed by all EU leaders in late 2017, urges all governments to have national strategies for children’s participation. Similarly, the Council of Europe has also recognised the value of child participation which is one of the five strands of its current Strategy for the Rights of the Child.

This conference will demonstrate why involvement of children in decision-making processes brings positive outcomes, both for the children and young people involved, for communities and for society at large, for example by promoting social inclusion and community engagement. Recommendations for policy makers and practitioners on why and how to strengthen child participation in public decision-making will be one of the key outcomes of this conference.

Practical Information:

Registration for the conference will commence in April 2018.

Eurochild is calling on organisations, which are directly working with children, to bring delegations with children and young people to participate in Eurochild’s conference. Each delegation should be made up of 2-5 children and a maximum of 1 accompanying adult for every 3 children. To ensure meaningful participation of all the children, the delegates should be aged between 10 and 18 years old.

Programme outline

During the conference, children and adults will work together with high-level speakers on the topic of child participation in decision making. Children have been a part of the planning of the Conference and will be taking on different roles during the Conference; as active participants and co-facilitators. Below you find the outline for the programme of the conference. A more detailed agenda is currently being developed by the organisers and the Young Advisory Group. 

Look at the programme table

About the organisers and hosts:

Organiser: About Eurochild

Eurochild advocates for children’s rights and well-being to be at the heart of policymaking. We are a network of organisations working with and for children throughout Europe, striving for a society that respects the rights of children. We influence policies, build internal capacities, facilitate mutual learning and exchange practice and research. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the foundation of all our work.

Host: Society ‘Our Children’ Opatija

Society "Our Children" Opatija is a non-governmental, not-for-profit, voluntary organisation which promotes the realisation of children's rights in society, encourages and maintains interest in freely chosen activities of preschool and school-aged children in their free time, and helps in shaping the democratic and humanistic behaviour of children.

Partnering host: About City of Opatija – a Child-friendly City

The City of Opatija received an honorary title ''City of Opatija- Child Friendly City'', alongside 5 other communities in Croatia in 2005. Initiated in 1999, the initiative of ‘Child friendly cities and Municipalities’ focuses on children up to the age of 15 years. With this title, the City of Opatija has voluntarily pledged to take care of its youngest citizens and take their views into account. The City of Opatija works together with associations, schools, social care institutions, health institutions, media and other relevant actors to develop the city based on the needs of children in Opatija. Society ‘Our Children’ Opatija has partnered with the city to offer various educational and leisure services to children of all backgrounds.